Padres rookie sensation Chris Paddack carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning in a stellar performance against the Marlins, the organization that dealt him to the Padres in exchange for reliever Fernando Rodney back in 2016. The 23-year-old right-hander didn’t allow a baserunner until Cesar Puello reached on a fielding error by shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr leading off the sixth inning. He issued a two-out walk to Yadiel Rivera later in that frame, but still managed to keep the no-hit bid alive until veteran second baseman Starlin Castro ambushed a center-cut fastball, smacking a line-drive home run to left-center field, leading off the eighth inning. He settled down to retire the next two batters in the frame before being lifted in favor of veteran reliever Craig Stammen. While he may have fallen short of a no-hitter, it was one of the most dominant pitching performances of the entire season. The 6-foot-4 righty pounded the strike zone relentlessly, throwing a staggering 65 of 94 pitches for strikes. He also finished with eight strikeouts, only walked one batter and generating a whopping 15 swinging strikes over 7 2/3 frames.
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We’ve simply run out of superlatives to describe Paddack’s surreal rookie campaign. Perhaps it’s the blend of confidence and swagger in addition to poise and a preternatural ability to command his prodigious arsenal that make him so compelling to watch. His 2.70 ERA is tied for the sixth-lowest mark among ranks among major-league starters with at least 90 innings of work this season. It’s not hyperbolic to suggest that he possesses the highest realistic ceiling of any starting pitcher in baseball thanks to his dynamic fastball/changeup combo and plus-plus control. The central question moving forward from a pure fantasy standpoint is how aggressive will the Padres be with his workload over the final two-plus months of the season and will they consider shutting him down at some point? San Diego currently sits three games out of a Wild Card spot, but this decision has more to do with the long-term future of the franchise than just one potential playoff push. Considering that Paddack only threw 89 innings combined over the previous two seasons in his recovery from Tommy John surgery back in August 2016, it seems unlikely that the Padres would push him past 150-to-175 innings this year. Even with a potential shutdown looming, on a per-start basis he’s an upper-echelon fantasy starter with one of the brightest futures in the game. Just when you think the justifiable noise can’t get any louder after a near no-hitter, Paddack and company will travel to the Big Apple to square off against the Mets and their NL Rookie of the Year front-runner Pete Alonso in his next start on Tuesday.
Archer Back On Target
Chris Archer delivered another stellar performance Wednesday, limiting the division-rival Cardinals to three runs on five hits over six innings in a no-decision. The 30-year-old righty generated 14 swinging strikes and recorded eight strikeouts while only issued a pair of walks. He also helped his own cause, going 2-for-3 with an RBI at the plate. It’s completely understandable that fantasy owners may remain skeptical of his recent uptick in performance after a massively disappointing start to the 2019 campaign, but there are reasons to believe that a simple change to his pitch mix has made a massive difference for Archer, enabling him to get his groove back in recent weeks.
According to the PITCHf/x data at Brooks Baseball, Archer shelved his ineffective sinker completely after a disastrous start against the Braves on June 11. Not only is he relying heavily on his slider, which he threw 41 times against the Cardinals, but he’s also mixing in more changeups and the occasional curveball as well. The results from a pure run-prevention standpoint (4.65 ERA) haven’t been overly impressive, but he’s recorded at least eight strikeouts in four of his last six starts since changing up his pitch mix in mid-June. Perhaps we spend too much time focusing on Archer’s highly-visible flaws and not enough on his elite ability to miss bats. He’s given up a whopping 22 homers, which are the fourth-most in the majors this season. He’s still going to serve up the occasional long ball, but if he’s going to continue whiffing nearly 10 batters per start and avoid major implosions, he’s going to be an extremely valuable fantasy starter the rest of the season. He’s someone that fantasy owners, especially those in deeper formats, should be seeking out in trade discussions before his next start, a re-match against the Cardinals at home on Tuesday.
Darvish Dialed In
Speaking of starting pitchers turning it around lately, Cubs’ righty Yu Darvish extended his recent run of success with six shutout innings in a win over the Reds on Wednesday. He yielded only two hits, racked up seven punch-outs and didn’t walk anyone to pick up his first win since April 27. The 32-year-old righty has rebounded from his early-season control issues to harness his considerable arsenal and string together an impressive six-start run over the last month. He’s posted a 3.44 ERA, 0.76 WHIP and 45/6 K/BB ratio during that span. He isn’t quite the force of nature he was earlier in his career, but he’s re-established himself as an upper-echelon fantasy starter moving forward. He’ll take on a suddenly surging Giants squad in San Francisco on Tuesday.
AL Quick Hits: Wednesday's scheduled game between the Yankees and the Rays has been postponed due to inclement weather and will be made up as a doubleheader on Thursday. … Jon Morosi of MLB Network writes that Mike Minor is “increasingly likely” to be traded in the next two weeks. … Aroldis Chapman said the rumor he is already planning to opt out of his contract after this season is “completely false”. … Corey Kluber (arm) completed a 20-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. … AJ Hinch told reporters before Wednesday's game against the Angels that Yordan Alvarez is still being bothered by a left knee injury. … Royals placed Adalberto Mondesi on the 10-day injured list with a left shoulder subluxation. … White Sox placed Eloy Jimenez on the 10-day injured list with a right ulnar nerve contusion. … Mike Trout remained out of the Angels’ starting lineup again on Wednesday … Matt Chapman was removed from Wednesday's game against the Mariners with ankle soreness. … Michael Brantley and George Springer homered in the Astros’ rout of the Angels. … Gerrit Cole recorded 11 strikeouts over seven innings in that one. … Whit Merrifield collected three hits and extended his hitting streak to 15 games in the Royals’ win over the White Sox. … Rafael Devers went 3-for-5 with a homer, a double and four RBI to lead the Red Sox past the Blue Jays. … Brandon Workman recorded a five-out save to preserve that victory. … Teoscar Hernandez hit a pair of solo homers and walked twice in the loss. … Jose Ramirez went 3-for-4 with a stolen base in the Indians’ win over the Tigers … Mike Clevinger struck out 12 batters over six innings of one-run ball and Nick Wittgren recorded a five-out save in that victory. … Jurickson Profar hit a pair of homers and drove in four runs to propel the Athletics to a blowout win over the Mariners. … Mallex Smith swiped his 26th base of the season in the losing effort … Danny Santana smashed two home runs in the Rangers’ lopsided defeat at the hands of the Diamondbacks. … Trey Mancini homered twice in the Orioles’ rain-soaked win over the Nationals. … Noe Ramirez has been suspended three games for hitting Jake Marisnick during Tuesday's game against the Astros. Angels manager Brad Ausmus was also handed a one-game suspension. … According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Rangers have discussed demoting Nomar Mazara to the minor leagues. … According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the two Mariners drawing the most trade interest right now are Domingo Santana and Roenis Elias. … Jonathan Schoop has been diagnosed with a mild abdominal strain and is considered day-to-day. … Nathan Eovaldi (elbow) will throw an inning on Thursday for Triple-A Pawtucket. … Mitch Haniger (groin) has been cleared to resume light baseball activities. … Rogelio Armenteros will start for the Astros on Sunday against the Rangers. … Ross Detwiler will start for the White Sox against the Royals on Thursday. … Blue Jays acquired Wilmer Font from the Mets for cash considerations. … Yankees acquired Terrance Gore from the Royals for cash considerations.
NL Quick Hits: Max Scherzer (back) threw from 90 feet away prior to Wednesday's game against the Orioles. … Nick Senzel was removed from Wednesday's game against the Cubs with a hamstring injury. He’s considered day-to-day. … David Dahl was removed from Wednesday's game against the Giants after fouling a ball off his left foot. X-rays came back negative and he’s being considered day-to-day. … Phillies placed Jay Bruce on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain and recalled Nick Williams from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. … Reds placed Raisel Iglesias on the paternity leave list. … Hector Neris has been suspended three games for hitting David Freese in Tuesday's game against the Dodgers. He has elected to appeal the suspension. … Christian Yelich slugged his 34th home run in the Brewers’ win over the Braves to tie Cody Bellinger for the major-league lead this season. … Josh Donaldson homered and drove in four runs in the Braves’ losing effort. … Amed Rosario reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances and teammate Pete Alonso went deep - his 31st long ball of the season - in the Mets’ blowout victory over the Twins. … Paul Goldschmidt drilled a go-ahead three-run homer to lift the Cardinals to a victory over the Pirates. … Kris Bryant walloped his 20th homer of the season to lead the Cubs past the Reds. … Yu Darvish whiffed seven over six scoreless frames in that contest. … Donovan Solano went 4-for-5 with a solo homer in the Giants’ win over the Rockies. … Trevor Story went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and finished a single shy of a cycle in the loss. … Kirby Yates recorded his major league-leading 31st save in the Padres’ win over the Marlins. … Eduardo Escobar homered twice in the Diamondbacks’ blowout win over the Rangers. … Cole Hamels (oblique) threw a bullpen session on Wednesday morning at Wrigley Field. … Gio Gonzalez (arm) is set to return to the Brewers' rotation Saturday against the Diamondbacks. … Derek Dietrich was pulled from Wednesday's game against the Cubs after taking a pitch off his right knee. … Maikel Franco (groin) and Jean Segura (heel) remained out of the Phillies’ starting lineup Wednesday against the Dodgers. … Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that Pirates right-hander Jordan Lyles is available in trade talks. … Gregory Polanco (shoulder) has officially been pulled off his minor league rehab assignment.